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Overworked PC? Not decoding all FT8 signals? Slow Computer?

Mike-VA3MW Administrator, FlexRadio Employee, Community Manager, Super Elmer, Moderator admin

I did this video to show what happens when you have a PC that is just running out of steam. And, when that happens, you stop decoding FT8 signals and who knows, may miss a new one.

tldr; I was actually able to adjust SmartSDR to improve FT8 performance. Your friends are FPS and RATE settings. This is also true for remote operations.

This demonstration shows that you can actually recover some Computer resources (CPU Cycles) by dialing down some adjustments in SmartSDR.

If you have an older computer, here are some steps to breathe it a bit of life:

  • Do not run any browser such as Edge or Chrome
  • Do you really need an antivirus? For Windows, just use Windows Defender which comes with Windows. Add-on AVs actually have to intercept every file you want to read or write and I have seen them **** up over 50% of available CPU Cycles. This is why they call it a 'spy driver'. *** this is a big resource hog ***
  • More memory is always good and if you can add some, you will benefit from improved performance
  • Computers with a dedicated video card are always a good choice. I had a very smart person tell me that if you are shopping for a video card, buy one with the biggest fan.
  • You Windows TASK manager to see what is consuming all your memory and also CPU cycles (I show a bit of this in the video)
  • Hard drives have a physical life of about 3 years (yep, it is that short). When they start to fail, they are busy trying to repair themselves first and then work with Windows. You can clone your hard drive to a new Solid State Drive for improved performance. As an example, I have actually cloned friends spinning hard drives to a new spinning hard drive and the comment I always hear is "Wow, it is just like new". Cloning means that all we did was copy everything to a new hard drive and you don't have to re-install everything.

Also, you can actually run WSJTx or any other digital program on a different PC than SmartSDR. This is something FlexRadio does so well. All you have to do is use SmartSDR CAT and DAX on the computer you are using with your digital program.

Those are the first things I look for when someone brings me their PC. I know others will have their own things they look for.

If you can give your computer a few extra CPU cycles, you will find that the computer is not losing DAX information (called corruption) and your FT8 experience improves.

As usual, my videos are to get you thinking and looking to understand what is happening under the covers and you can make decisions that make a difference, rather than just guessing. Not all symptoms have the same fix or root cause.


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